A physics major and studio art minor at Colorado College, Alana Aamodt is from Minnesota. She came to CC for a good education and for an exciting adventure. She’s found both.

In her first physics class, she and her classmates played hockey every Thursday, something she describes as “one of those things you can only do at Colorado College.” A short list of the “nine million things” she’s done at CC includes an array of academic, intellectual, physical, creative, and collaborative ventures.

She founded and co-chairs CC’s club for Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to provide a supportive space for women, who aren’t always well represented in science and mathematics courses. She says her motivation to create this club came from a feeling of self-doubt compounded by isolation, a sentiment she realized many other women students in STEM shared.

“It was a crash course in running a club,” Aamodt says. “The first year was exploratory. Then, I focused on my leadership style.”

She enjoys backpacking, rock climbing, and canoeing. After high school, she enrolled in the National Outdoor Leadership School. Part of the reason she chose CC was to explore the Rocky Mountains. She’s continued her outdoor pursuits at CC as a leader with the Outdoor Recreation Committee and a wilderness first responder.

“I got to lead first-year students on a FOOT trip to Mount Sneffels, a fourteener near Telluride,” she says. (FOOT stands for First-year Outdoor Orientation Trips.)

And, the adventures continued. Thanks to funding from the Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund, Aamodt was able to join three other CC students on a 16-day, 400-mile canoeing trip in the Yukon last summer.

“The rivers move so fast. The sun didn’t set until 11:45 p.m. or midnight each day,” she recalls.

Her academic pursuits have included plenty of exciting experiences as well. One field trip took her to a mosque designed by an Egyptian architect in the middle of New Mexico. Her architecture and design course gave her the opportunity to work on a model tiny home. And her class presentation? She gave it around a wood-burning stove in her professor’s mountain home he had designed himself.

Additionally, she’s played several intramural sports, including broomball, softball, water polo, and hockey. She’s a research assistant for a CC professor researching retention of women in physics and a writing intern for the college’s Office of Communications.

In Summer 2017, she was a member of a Quad Innovation Partnership team working on solutions for homelessness in Colorado Springs. The partnership is an innovation incubator that includes CC, Pikes Peak Community College, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

“The Quad program allowed me to form connections in the Colorado Springs community. I learned about a lot of local nonprofits, and I met people who weren’t like me. I realized there is diversity here; it’s just spread out,” she says.

As a Venture Grant recipient, Aamodt studied the engineering design process and design/build science of toys. She plans to enter her toy design in the college’s Big Idea competition next year.

Aamodt has received the Patricia Buster Scholarship in Honor of Statie Erikson, Horace H. Work Endowed Scholarship for Music, Crown-Goodman Presidential Scholarship, and the Walton Family Foundation Scholarship. Additionally, she’s received aid from the Ritt Kellogg Endowed Memorial Fund and Keller Family Venture Grant Program for Student Research. She’s forthright about the role that financial aid and scholarships play in her ability to study at CC and immerse herself in the CC experience.

“A single scholarship was my gateway to the seemingly infinite opportunities CC has to offer. Without constant, looming financial stress, I was able to explore my interests, just for the sake of trying and learning. With each urge to try something new, there was always an avenue to do it: another scholarship or grant, which helped pave my way in whichever direction I chose. One scholarship was all it took to open up more, so long as I was willing to work for them.”

After graduation, Aamodt is planning to pursue a degree in engineering or design.